Cuidades Sustentables

Climate Change and Public Advocacy

Climate change is a new framework that demands a more systemic analysis and raises the need for an updated approach to development, governance, and individual and collective behavior. In this context of shared challenges, new opportunities emerge. The specific opportunity AVINA and its allies envision is the chance to influence necessary adjustments to public policy and market regulations at the local, national and regional levels as a result of climate change. Relatedly, Latin America has a key role to play in international negotiations that are happening because of this great global challenge.


In Latin America, climate change is highly relevant, but the level of response and public policy framework is very uneven among countries in the region. Brazil is well positioned in the global debate by its emissions reduction targets, curbs on deforestation in the Amazon and its leading role in biofuels. Costa Rica has made the ambitious proposal to become carbon-neutral by 2021. Mexico and Chile are countries that have adopted proactive policies to regulate greenhouse gas emissions to satisfy the requirements determined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Bolivia has promoted an alternative proposal in the international debate that focuses on the demand for "climate justice.” Other countries adopt weak or ineffectual positions.


With few exceptions, Latin American leadership from both the civilian and business sectors is characterized by low awareness of the problem and its link to both the economy and policy. In the coming years this scenario has to change if the region wants to prepare for the future, promote regional interests and influence the international consensus around climate change.


Corporate Social Responsibility

The emergence of the concept of sustainable development in the 1990s forced many companies to rethink their relationship with society and the environment and move beyond the conventional approach focused solely on shareholders, employees and government regulation. A growing awareness born at the Earth Summit in 1992 began to penetrate business culture during the next decade. Since 1998, AVINA has promoted and encouraged the corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement in Latin America. We began working in Brazil, providing support to organizations like the Ethos Institute as well as CSR working groups in state industrial federations. Soon the promotion of CSR became an AVINA priority across the region.


In 2010, after a decade of contribution to the CSR movement, AVINA launched a study to understand what has been learned. During the past ten years, the concept has been widely adopted by society: business discourse has changed considerably, CSR is taught in business schools in the region, there are a multitude of tools and indicators available and there are hundreds of institutes and associations dedicated to the topic. But in business practice and business strategy, what has changed? Are companies more responsible? The study results will be published in 2011, but as of now, AVINA’s CSR team is working with all units of our organization to incorporate the lessons learned from this rich experience into our strategies and operations as well as in our promotion of business participation in the agendas for social change we support.


The South American Chaco

The South American Chaco is the second-largest biome of Latin America after the Amazon. It covers about 1 million km2, encompassing vast areas of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay plus a small portion of Brazil. A region of rich social and environmental diversity, the Chaco faces a number of problems and challenges such as widespread poverty among the rural population, an increasing migration of the rural and Indian population, and a predatory model of natural resources exploitation. For the national governments of the countries in this region, the Chaco is of marginal importance, often relegated to the lowest priority.


For more than ten years, AVINA has worked in the South American Chaco with a strategic vision to strengthen social capital in each country and encourage cross-border initiatives to promote Chaco culture and environmental, economic and social sustainability. To this end, AVINA has partnered with a number of organizations seeking to promote inclusion, equality and a better quality of life for all of the region’s inhabitants.


In 2010, AVINA worked closely with a wide network of partners, identifying and promoting convergences among different participants united in the formation of a shared vision for this rich and valuable area. Many agree on the need to emphasize both locally and globally the value of the South American Chaco as one of the continent’s largest forest biomes, especially when considering its biodiversity and many sustainable and inclusive practices. AVINA supports this proactive convergence of interests among its Chaco allies and joins them in pursuing changes that contribute to achieving a common vision.

Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina. Latin America accounts for 12% of greenhouse gas emissions globally and is home to 8% of the world’s population. Its emissions are comparatively higher than those of other regions of the planet.



Some achievements of our allies in 2010

Latin America is highlight of COP16 in Cancún

AVINA joined with allies from Latin America and beyond for a series of events organized around the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16) in Cancún. A "Side Event” presented examples of innovative initiatives from Latin America that respond to the challenge of climate change. The Third AVINA Global Workshop, provided a venue to promote collaboration with allies in preparation for the Rio+20 conference in 2012. AVINA also supported a webcast in which Latin American leaders of influence shared their analyses and perspectives regarding climate change.


The events were well attended, with the participation of internationally recognized leaders such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, Brazilian Senator Marina Silva, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International President Yolanda Kakabadse, Leonardo Boff, Fabio Feldmann, Manuel Rodriguez Becerra and Oded Grajew, among other important Latin American allies. The multimedia coverage is available online: www.avinacop16.org


First World Summit of the South American Chaco

In October 2010 the South American Chaco World Summit took place in Asuncion, Paraguay. This event was organized by Redes Chaco and supported by AVINA. The summit's objective, which attracted more than 700 delegates from the four nations that constitute the South American Chaco—Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay—focused on dialogue and identification of common action agendas among different participants. The group looks to work together to meet the challenge of strengthening environmental sustainability, social equality and achieving greater international visibility for the region. This meeting, a milestone in the development of a shared vision among different actors, gathered leaders from indigenous and farming organizations, business sectors, government programs and organizations, and international agencies, as well as a diverse spectrum of civil society groups. As a result, examples of cross-border collaboration are already evident, including new connections between associations of rural women and indigenous communities, exchange of innovative experiences related to sustainable food production and environmental advocacy, and an active agenda to promote the region in international events.


Satellite monitoring to combat deforestation

Satellite monitoring reports related to land use, fires and floods are being used by Paraguayan environmental authorities to control and prevent unauthorized deforestation in the Chaco. The technology was developed in cooperation with the organization Guyra Paraguay in partnership with AVINA. AVINA’s resources and contacts provided for the expansion in coverage of the monitoring Guyra carried out in Paraguay, thereby allowing regular continuity and greater impact. These reports are already being used to respond to problems in the region.


Bolivian Chaco. For more than ten years, AVINA has worked in the South American Chaco, seeking to strengthen the social capital in Chaco countries and encourage cross-border collaboration initiatives that enhance environmental, economic, social and cultural sustainability.